Ellen Song claims correspondence sub-series
Administrative/Biographical HistoryJohn David Herbert (birth name Heinz Herbert Karpowitz, b. March 26, 1924, in Berlin, Germany) was from an affluent Jewish family, the second child of Otto Karpowitz and Frieda Abraham. He had two sisters: Inge Johanna Karpowitz (b. 1921) and Ellen Ruth Karpowitz (b. 1929). Otto Karpowitz was the owner of the Sportspalast in Berlin, a popular venue for the Nazi Party’s speeches and rallies, and heard Adolf Hitler’s plans to conquer Europe and eliminate the Jews. He moved the family to The Hague, Netherlands, in 1931. In 1937, Otto, once again fearing danger, brought John to England, enrolling him at Lindisfarne College, a private school. He left John at school and never returned. From 1940 to 1941, John was interned at Huyton Alien Internment Camp, near Liverpool. In the Netherlands, John’s mother and sisters survived the Holocaust in hiding. His father did not survive; he was arrested and died in Auschwitz in 1944.
After the war, John struggled to afford higher education, working for London, Midland and Scottish Railway and British Law Insurance Company for low pay. His work as an elementary school teacher inspired him to learn more about teaching. In 1950, he earned his Bachelor of Science in Economics and Political Science from London University. In 1958, he earned his Master of Education in Educational Psychology from Cornell University. Finally, in 1964, he graduated from Columbia University with his Doctorate of Education in Curriculum Instruction.
John’s education allowed him to work as a principal and teacher at numerous schools in England, the United States and Canada, including Longfellow School, Reed College and University of Toronto. From 1974 to 1977, he was Expert in Educational Psychology at University of Science, Malaysia, with a UNESCO assignment. In 1981 John moved to Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, where he continued working for the United Nations as National Vice President of the United Nations Association in Canada. In 2006, John joined a memoir group and wrote substantially about his life.
John married Evelyn “Eve” Green in 1947. Their son, Paul David Herbert, was born in 1949. John married his second wife, Lucille Oaklander, in 1954. Their daughter, Susan Alice Herbert, was born in 1956. After John divorced Lucille, he met Anne Noonan. She was his companion for thirty years.
From 1947 to 2010, John and his siblings fought for their inheritance and properties seized from their family during the war. These properties included those owned by Otto Karpowitz in Berlin and property belonging to their mother’s family in Danzig, now Gdańsk, Poland. The claims process involved substantial correspondence between the Karpowitz family and numerous lawyers, realtors and government agencies, such as the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission of the United States.
John died on March 25, 2011, in Victoria.
Scope & ContentSub-series consists of bundles of correspondence in English and German between John Herbert, Ellen Song, lawyers and government agencies regarding compensation for properties in Berlin seized during the war. The Karpowitz siblings often lived in different countries and worked together to win compensation by trading documents and notes for review.